Big Changes Coming to Costco: Here’s How Membership Fees Could Increase

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Costco recently experienced a significant leadership change. With the retirement of CFO Richard Galanti and Ron Vachris transitioning from COO to CEO, the company had its first quarterly earnings call with the new executives. This article explores how these changes are affecting Costco’s operations and membership fees.

New Leadership at Costco

After years of consistent leadership, Costco attendees were curious to see if the company’s style would shift with the new CFO Gary Millerchip and CEO Ron Vachris. During the earnings call, it became clear that the new leaders intend to maintain the structure established by their predecessors.

CEO Ron Vachris stated, “Consistent with how Craig and Richard manage investor communications, I intend to have Gary host the quarterly conference calls, and I will join as business permits to answer a few questions.”

Membership Fee Increases

A major topic of concern during the earnings call was the potential rise in membership fees. Under former CFO Richard Galanti, increases had been paused for longer than usual. Although Galanti acknowledged an increase was due, he never provided a projected date.

Gary Millerchip, the new CFO, shares Galanti’s views, stating that the increase will happen, but the timing is still uncertain. Millerchip said, “I would really kind of revert back to some of the comments that Richard shared previously. I don’t think that we’re thinking about it any differently than he’s talked about in the last few calls.”

Reluctance to Change

Despite financial pressures, Costco’s new leadership seems reluctant to change a system that is working well. Millerchip expressed confidence in the company’s performance and membership value, stating, “We feel really good about membership renewal rates. We feel really good about the test of are we delivering significantly more value to members than we were or have since we last increased the membership fee.”

Membership Growth and Renewal Rates

Even with the financial challenges, Costco continues to maintain a loyal membership base. The renewal rates have remained consistent and high, which highlights the value of Costco memberships. Millerchip proudly announced, “At Q3 end, our U.S. and Canada renewal rate was 93%, up one-tenth of a percent from Q2 end. The worldwide rate came in at 90.5%, the same as Q2 end.”

Increase in Revenue

Despite no membership fee hike, Costco’s revenue increased significantly due to new additions to the program. Millerchip reported, “We ended Q3 with 74.5 million paid household members, up 7.8% versus last year, and 133.9 million cardholders, up 7.4% year over year.”

Costco’s new leadership is committed to maintaining the company’s successful strategies while carefully considering the timing of membership fee increases. Despite economic challenges, Costco continues to grow its membership base and revenue, demonstrating the value it provides to its members.


1. Who are the new leaders at Costco?

Ron Vachris is the new CEO, and Gary Millerchip is the new CFO.

2. Will Costco raise its membership fees soon?

The new CFO, Gary Millerchip, stated that a fee increase is due but did not provide a specific timeline.

3. How are Costco’s membership renewal rates?

Costco’s membership renewal rates remain high, with 93% in the U.S. and Canada and 90.5% worldwide.

4. Has Costco’s revenue increased without raising membership fees?

Yes, Costco’s revenue increased due to new memberships, with a reported $1.123 billion, a 7.6% year-over-year increase.

5. How many members does Costco have?

As of Q3, Costco has 74.5 million paid household members and 133.9 million cardholders.

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